CLEVELAND - Some experts believe a growing number of northeast Ohio families are not prepared to meet growing burial expenses after the loss of a loved one.
Jim Milano, owner of Milano Monuments, says growing financial distress, a lack of planning, and not enough awareness when it comes to the importance of life insurance are to blame.
"Talking about this and planning ahead are very important," said Milano. "The life insurance policy for the five or ten thousand dollars, that they could have been paying ten or 15 dollars a month, they don't do it anymore."
Nineteen-year-old Ayesha Saleen spent several hours with family and members of Black on Black Crime Inc. collecting donations for her father's funeral.
Saleen's father was murdered of July 12 after an argument at an RTA bus stop at East 110 and Superior Avenue.
Saleen said she was several hundred dollars short in being able to give her dad a proper burial, and stressed the importance of getting even a small life insurance policy.
"I've been trying my best to stay positive and pray that we get the money for my dad," said Saleen. "Everyone needs life insurance, because of situations like this. I didn't know my dad was going to die."
Judy Martin, Director of Survivors/Victims of Tragedy said insurance awareness isn't enough when dealing with a growing number of families who are falling through the cracks.
Martin believes additional burial support programs are needed to help families who can prove they have the financial need.
Martin said she'll try to organize a meeting with local funeral directors to see if some type of burial fund can be created.
"They don't have enough money to bury them, they don't have enough money for the funeral, they don't even have enough money for cremation," said Martin. "We need to work on a way to work together to help these families during the worst time of their lives."
In the end, Saleen was able to raise the $800 in donations her family needed for her father's funeral.
"I thank all the wonderful, generous people out there," said Saleen. "But it's much better to be prepared as a family, if you can find some way to find a few dollars a month for life insurance."